In January 2020, Britain left the European Union to embark on its own journey. Whether you love it or loathe it, Brexit happened, and now we all have to live with the changes. But what are some of the changes that you need to watch out for if you are a small business?

Customs

How goods are moved around the world is changing as new arrangements are being drawn up. One of the biggest issues is the sudden change of paperwork that has landed on small businesses. Because of the change of rules, many people are choosing to shop locally rather than risking their post being held over fees and paperwork. If you do ship things, make sure you are upto date with all of the paperwork required for sending items. This has also led to increased checks and longer waiting times for deliveries. These delays have seen some parcels being stuck in the post for nearly two months in some cases.

Your Right to Work

We hate to bring some horror stories up but we feel like we have to. Especially as people are losing their right to live and work in the UK. Many people who have lived and worked in the UK have lost their right to stay. There are people who were born in Europe, moved here as a baby and can’t prove that they have a right to be here, and are being deported. If you are unsure of your rights, you might need to speak to some immigration lawyers.

Freedom of Movement

This is a tricky one as many people are still unsure about the rules around travel. As we are no longer a member of the EU, we can’t skip the queues in airports. Instead, we have to go through customs and passport checks when we go to Europe. It gets a bit murky when it comes to Northern Ireland. The Good Friday Agreement, which has been in force since 1998, ensures that there will be no hard border on the island of Ireland. This had created the Irish Sea border and stirred up tensions. This change to movement has affected the people and the goods that travel around the world.

Changes to VAT

VAT and taxes were complicated at the best of times, and now Brexit has changed the rules again. Sellers do not charge VAT, but buyers will have to pay VAT as Britain is no longer part of the single market. These changes only apply to businesses who trade with the EU, and no extra charges will be added for goods and services that stay within the UK. A 5% VAT rate will apply until September 2021, but after this, it is set to go up to 12.5% for a few months. In April 2022, the rate will return to 20% again.

These are a small selection of the things that have changed since 2020, but the pandemic has changed how we do business too. It may be a while before we see the real effect that Brexit has on British businesses.